House of Lords discussion dinner: creating a better world for unowned cats

Street cats

On Wednesday 25th July, iCatCare Patron Lord Black hosted a special discussion dinner at the House of Lords on the topic of 'Creating a better world for unowned cats'.
We were joined by a diverse group of guests including representatives from Charitable Foundations with a focus on animals (including Steve Dale, Trustee of the Winn Feline Foundation who flew in specially all the way from Chicago!) along with the media, with the likes of TV vet Scott Miller, Telegraph veterinary journalist, Peter Wedderburn, Sam Taylor, editor of The Lady magazine and Philippa Perry (wife of artist Grayson Perry) who writes for the Guardian.  We were also joined by World Animal Protection (who do great work with street dogs) and cat enclosure experts ProtectaPet.
Lord Black welcomed everyone with a few words about his personal support for International Cat Care and spoke of his own experience of hand-rearing Luca - a tiny lost kitten in Italy - and his enthusiasm for helping unowned cats - the topic of the evening.
CEO Claire and feline behaviour expert Vicky Halls presented a whistle-stop tour of our new thinking for unowned cats and the problems worldwide. International Cat Care has been developing its strategy for unowned cats since 2011 and Vicky has spent much of the past 12 months working with UK homing centres to better understand the enormous challenges they face in terms of the numbers of cats, health and well-being issues and, of course, trying to find homes for them all. Claire also spoke about the recent trip to Portugal with welfare experts who face similar challenges to an even greater extent. The conclusion that emerged from this work is that these challenges can only be addressed if we understand the cat’s needs should be the priority, see the bigger picture and recognise that different cats need different solutions and that not all cats would be suitable or comfortable living as pet cats.
Over dinner there was a very animated discussion and a genuine buzz around the ideas. In fact we were still rounding people up as the Palace of Westminster gates were closing for the evening!

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